by Isak Fritz MPL – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
Date: 29 March 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA is concerned by the Northern Cape Health Department’s lack of urgency to operationalise 38
ambulances, 10 patient transporters and five obstetric ambulances that were bought and delivered in 2015.
The vehicles, that still need to be converted and fitted with necessary medical equipment, have been gathering
dust for the past two years, while Emergency Medical Services struggle to achieve adequate emergency
response times due to a shortage of vehicles. In fact, quarterly reports have noted a decline in calls in urban
areas within the required 15 minute time frame as a direct result of a decline in operational vehicles. This lack of
operational vehicles has been further aggravated by the high accident rate of ambulances in the Northern Cape.
The lack of specialized obstetric ambulances further contributes to the high maternal and neonatal death rates in
Following a briefing by the Health Department yesterday, it came to light that the conversion process was delayed
after corruption was uncovered in the tender process. According to the department, a contract had been entered
into by the department for the conversion of ambulances even though the conversion process was never put out
The department has indicated that they are now following proper processes and that progress has been made
towards converting the vehicles.
The DA appreciates the department’s honesty and the fact that they have regularised the contract. However, we
remain concerned by the health departments’ nonchalant attitude towards such high scale corruption that is
literally robbing sick people of medical care.
The DA is of the view that the operationalization of the stagnating emergency vehicles must be prioritised for the
sake of all the people in the province who are dependent on ambulance services to receive life-saving health
The DA further believes that the corrupt officials, who tried to broker deals for the conversion of ambulances for
their own benefit at the cost of service delivery, must be criminally dealt with.
The DA will continue to monitor the matter and probe the department regarding the disciplinary steps that have
been taken against those who selfish actions have inhibited the efficient functioning of emergency services in the
Isak Fritz MPL
DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387